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Thread: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

  1. #1

    Default Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Mandolin Cafe Community,

    I'm a new player and am looking for music. What music pieces, no matter the style or genre, do you think every mandolin player should know?

    Go.....

    Thanks,
    E
    Thanks,
    E

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    I would be interested in the answer, because I probably don't know them.


    I saw something similar on a guitar centered website - giving the five songs every guitarist should know regardless of genre. The site list was all folk/rock, but I guess that is the normal expectation of those who ask beginners to "play us something".

    I don't know what the expectation is for those asking a beginner mandolinner to play something. I really don't. I think its likely that I have avoided the top five, whatever they are.


    I guess if the goal is to have something ready to play for those who don't necessarily have specific music in mind and just want to hear you play, friends and family etc., I might learn the theme from The Godfather, and perhaps Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It is likely that will be recognized and appreciated.

    Friends of a certain age might recognize the mandolin break from Rod Stewart's Maggie May, Zeppelin's Battle of Evermore or of a different age the song Rise Up by Eddie Vedder and Paul McCartney's Dance Tonight.

    Among some folks Vivaldi's Mandolin Concerto in C Major is absolutely the way to go.

    For the record, I don't play any of the above - though I am working on the Vivaldi, and The Godfather is almost ready.


    I would not say that any of the above are popular with mandolin players.
    Last edited by JeffD; Sep-10-2015 at 11:08am.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Too broad a statement, anyone suppling such a list will go with the style he or she plays.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    It has to be "Happy Birthday", because then you can say to anyone who wants to hear you "I bet I can play a song that I can put your name into." Works every time!
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    If its music just for yourself, go after what you love. There is very little that has been written for the mandolin specifically anyway, compared to the amount of non-mando music out there you can just grab. So the whole world is equally obscure and there for the picking.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Sorry, I didn't get the compulsory music you Must know Memo..


    Have a tune you cannot get out of your head? start with that one.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    I joke that whenever a mandolin gets sold, in the fine print of the receipt it says the owner must learn "Maggie May" and "Friend Of The Devil." It sure seems that way. You'll find that very often, when you bring out a mandolin at a jam, someone will suggest either or both of those. Oh, someone might say "Mandolin Wind," but they really mean "Maggie May."

    Just remember - if someone asks if you can play "Far, Far Away," they mean something else.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    I think everyone ought to know how to play "little Maggie"......

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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Ok, I'm game, I'll be the first to start a list!

    Old Time: Arkansas Traveller, Buffalo Gals, Camptown Races, Cotton Eyed Joe, Down in the Valley, June Apple, Liza Jane, O Susanna, Old Joe Clark, Red River Valley, Shady Grove, Shenandoah, Wildwood Flower, You Are My Sunshine.

    Celtic/Irish: Cockles and Mussels, Danny Boy, Irish Washerwoman, Margaret's Waltz, Rakes of Mallow, Red is the Rose (Loch Lomond), Scotland the Brave, Slane (Be Thou My Vision), Southwind, Swallowtail Jig.

    I have found all of the above easy to memorize and at least somewhat recognizable to most people. So they have worked well for me when someone says "play me something". Although of course there is no such thing as a "required music list" for mandolinists we need to recognize there is such a thing as core repertoire for each genre.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    The Vivaldi C Major concerto, natch.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Did anyone notice the OP says he is a NEW player? Pretty sure he won't be wailing on Vivaldi any time soon.

    If we are suggesting classical pieces why not suggest beginner level stuff most people would recognize, like Ode to Joy and Brahm's Lullaby?
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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Huh. I was thinking more along the line of "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

    Probably 99.9 percent of music I know on the mandolin is completely un-recognizable to just about everybody, and for those who might know it, they'd feel it all sounds alike anyway. Which is my way of saying that, if there's any number of songs every mandolin player should know, I probably don't know them. And that includes Mandolin Wind, since when I was a teen in the 1970s, I wouldn't be caught dead listening to contemporary music. I didn't even know bluegrass existed until I was in my 20s and then couldn't have recognized a specific tune or song if one were played to me. I'm still woefully ignorant of pretty much all of it.

    I think that trying to find standard repertoire for mandolin will be a hard job -- like finding the top 10 tunes played on the tiple. It's just too niche an instrument to generate a "must-play" catalogue. My 2 cents worth.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    What songs should every (violinist/fiddler/guitarist/pianist/etc.) know?

    That question seems like, what expectations does every listener have?

    Or other questions with assumptions built in, like what is the best underwear size?

    One size never fits all.

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    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Cherokee Shuffle.

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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Some Italian tunes like "O sole mio" or "Santa Lucia".
    That kind of playing predates Bill Monroe by some years.

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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Too bad. The OP didn't ask the right question. He should have asked "What songs should I know if I go to a Bluegrass jam?" I'll bet then he would have gotten a veritable avalanche of specific suggestions.

    Truth is, there IS a core repertoire for all of our genres and all of us know it. I would think we could be more helpful in this regard.

    There are some books that would be helpful The Parking Lot Pickers Songbook, Mandolin for Dummies, The Bluegrass Fake Book are some that contain a lot of what many would consider to be core repertoire.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Right. When a beginner (or anyone, really) puts himself/herself on the spot looking for help of a basic nature, he/she is leaving himself/herself open and vulnerable. It behooves us to be as kind, considerate, and helpful as possible. And not use this as an opportunity for mockery and/or other foolishness.

    I will grant this, though: it would help us if we knew what sort of music you are interested in. There isn't a broad-based instrument-specific repertoire for the mandolin, although as has been pointed out, there are songs in several genres which are good to know. These will come up if you go to jams at which these sorts of songs are likely to be played. I mentioned the ones I did because they come up pretty often at the kinds of jams I've gone to, populated by baby boomers and hippie wannabes. It wouldn't hurt to add "Ripple" to that list - that and FOTD are the two Grateful Dead songs that David Grisman played on back then and reintroduced the instrument to a generation (see "American Beauty"), and people of a certain ilk and/or age range associate them with the instrument.

    But really, do yourself a favor and learn everything you like. Don't limit yourself in any way. The mandolin is capable of playing a wide variety of music. You never know which song is going to come up when or where. And anyway, your prime directive is to enjoy playing the music you like on your chosen instrument.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Get the tab for Ashoken Farewell. Your fiddle playing friends will love you and it's pleasant to play.

    http://www.hughcan.com/music/ashokan...tation_tab.pdf

    You can find video's of it on Youtube.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    How about you sit there and figure out the national anthem,,how many of us can play that now,no practice?

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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Ashoken Farewell is a great (modern) tune despite it's use in Ken Burn's Civil War (just being re-aired starting tonight!). It's not too hard. My first mandolin tune was Jesse James.

    I completely agree a tune that is in your head is easiest to get to your fingers since you know how it sounds. If you're a faithful person, most hymns and Christmas Carols (if that's your faith) are simple tunes that your fingers will find. There are resources for both at our tab section.

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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Well, in my limited experience... Find any jams near you, of whatever genre you want to play. Hell, even go to the one's you don't know anything about, you might be turned on to something new. When you go to jams, you don't have to participate, just listen to the songs being called, and write them down. These are the songs every mandolin player should learn, the songs others around you are playing. Because, playing with others is the most fun.
    Also, learn whatever it is you like to listen to. I'm a deadhead I started by learning dead tunes. Every mandolin player should learn the songs they like to listen to.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    The Vivaldi C Major concerto, natch.
    Natch.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Truth is, there IS a core repertoire for all of our genres and all of us know it. I would think we could be more helpful in this regard.
    .
    The OP specifically said no matter the style or genre.

    You are right, there is a core repertory in every genre. I am not sure that a list of, for example, the five most popular tunes, in each of the major genres in which a mandolin is featured, would be responsive more responsive. That's 50 tunes right there, give or take.

    Maybe you are right though, we'll have to see what E's follow up questions are.
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    Default Re: Songs of any style that all mandolon players should know

    [QUOTE=journeybear;1430950]I joke that whenever a mandolin gets sold, in the fine print of the receipt it says the owner must learn "Maggie May" and "Friend Of The Devil." It sure seems that way. You'll find that very often, when you bring out a mandolin at a jam, someone will suggest either or both of those.

    This just proves my point in my last post. I've been playing 50 years ( I'll admit only bluegrass) and I've never played or even know of these two songs. The one I would put in that statement is Rawhide!

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    For songs that non bluegrass fans will recognise

    MaggIe Mae
    Losing my religion
    O sole mio
    Fat man
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